Tags: Gripen E/F
Gripen is the first combat fighter aircraft system in the world to be integrated with an operational Meteor capability. This year, Saab conducted the last major trials task required to clear the new missile for operational service on the Gripen C/D multi-role fighter. Full Meteor capability will be delivered as part of Gripen’s latest MS20 (Materiel System 20) combat systems update for the Swedish Air Force.
A report in Medium.com outlines the features of what it calls the best air to air missile in the world.
The missile’s ramjet propulsion system gives Meteor its high-speed performance and the energy to defeat fast, moving targets at long range.
The ramjet powerplant means that the Meteor is an air-breathing air-to-air munition—the first to enter service. Thanks to its efficient ramjet motor, the Meteor is a true very-long-range missile, a class that, since the retirement of the Phoenix-and-F-14 combination, is entirely absent from the U.S. military, the report says.
It is not just the reach of the missile which is critical. End game performance - the ability of a missile to muster up enough energy at the end of its flightpath to battle a maneuvering target that is doing all it can to shake off the homing missile is equally important.
According to the manufacturer, in a head-on engagement the Meteor provides a no-escape zone (the area in which an enemy aircraft will not be able to use pure agility to evade a missile) three times greater than that of a convention
Gripen NG has an array of advanced and enhanced features, one of which is that it offers extended range and can stay in the air for longer.
Flying for longer missions requires more fuel. Gripen NG’s internal fuel tanks are approximately 40 per cent larger than Gripen C/D’s. With its powerful engine and smart design, this new generation aircraft can fly at supersonic speed without using its afterburner. This is called supercruise, and it means that less fuel is used, allowing the aircraft to remain in the air for longer.
Also, Gripen NG has 10 external hardpoints allowing it to carry more weapons, pods and additional fuel tanks, which means that during a mission, more fuel is available. Most of the increased volume has been made available in the fuselage by moving the landing gear from the fuselage of the aircraft out to the inner wings.
If Gripen NG needs to remain even longer in the air, it can be refueled in the air from a tanker plane as well.
Gripen NG is equipped to conduct air-to-air refueling via the NATO standard probe-and-drogue system. This ability increases its combat radius and/or time on station considerably – in fact, missions of up to eight hours or more can be flown.
Some fast facts on Gripen: The Swedish fighter aircraft was originally designed for flexible deployment with a small logistical footprint. This was due to the Swedish Air Force’s policy during the cold war to operate out of a number of dispersed bases across the country. This made it vital to keep staff resources, support systems and spares to a minimum. As a result of this, Gripen was designed to operate from runways only 800x16 metres in length. This means it can land on a regular highway, which further improves its logistical flexibility.
This capability has been carried over to Gripen NG.
There is more. High availability is vital for small air forces who rely on aircraft that offer a long Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF) and short Mean Time To Repair (MTTR). Gripen NG has been designed with this in mind. Gripen NG has also been designed for minimal turnaround time. For example, an air-to-air combat set up takes only 10 minutes to perform, including refueling and rearming.
Gripen NG, whose flexible and modular design makes continuous development and enhancements, is designed for combat scenarios in the 21st Century Net Centric Warfare (NCW) environment.
The new generation aircraft can not only accumulate information from different sources, but also process it and present it in a manner that is useful for the pilot during a mission. It has highly developed net-centric warfare capabilities, including an advanced sensor suite and strong focus on data links for sharing information within a Gripen NG tactical unit or with NATO forces.
The information advantage does not end here. The pilot can also receive data from controllers on the ground or in the air. A digital CAS and video link enables further communication benefits.
Gripen’s Data Link System (TIDLS), along with a Link 16 or National Data Link provide the following capabilities:
• Data link within the Tactical Air Unit
• Data link between Gripen, AEW&C and C2 centers on ground or at sea
• Data link with Forward Air Controller
During Farnborough International Air Show 2014, Saab, for the first time ever, unveiled a full scale replica of Gripen NG. Here are the snapshots.
The Saab stand with full scale replica of Gripen NG
General Bydén from the Swedish Air Force getting a tour of the Gripen NG cockpit at Farnborough International Airshow
Saab pilot Richard Ljungberg showing Gripen to Brazilian delegation
Miguel Svensson (Saab) discusses Gripen's range of weapons systems
Gripen NG receives a lot of attention
Taking a photo souvenir
Get to know more about Saab's participation at the Farnborough International Air Show here.
“It felt like I was in one of the world’s most modern fighters, perhaps the most modern. I have absolutely no doubt that Brazil has made the right choice. It is impressive how much information the pilot has at his fingertips. It feels like you are at the spearhead, fully equipped to defend your country”, says FAB pilot Major Renato Leal Leite who recently flew the Swedish fighter aircraft.
According to a news report in Globo.com, Major Leite is the first Brazilian pilot to fly the Gripen since Brazil’s announcement that Saab was chosen to provide fighter aircraft to meet the FX2 requirement. Major Leite took the test flight in June this year when a FAB delegation visited the Makhado air base in South Africa.
“Gripen comes with a range of sensors and radar and infrared equipment, which serve as the pilot’s eyes. I can easily see what is going on outside, and identify things. The old planes did not have this capability. The pilot had to make an effort to understand what was going on outside”, he says.
Major Leite was also impressed with the electronic display suite in the cockpit and the air-to-air data link which allows real-time exchange of tactical data within and between cooperating air units.
“Gripen provides clear data in real time. It tells me if there is a friendly or enemy aircraft out there. If I make a mistake, it understands my intention and corrects the error. When you are in a fighter, ...
The development of Gripen E, the most cost-efficient and modern state-of-the-art multirole fighter jet is underway. From a more powerful engine to an enhanced avionics system, there are many new features that make Gripen E a class apart.
Saab's Chief Test Pilot Richard Ljungberg talks to IHS Jane's about various features of Gripen E, explaining how it is different from the aircraft’s earlier versions.
Lennart Sindahl, Head of Aeronautics Business Segment, Saab AB, tells the Gripen story at the Farnborough International Air Show 2014.
"We are at a very good point right now. We have just introduced the version 20 of Gripen C/D. We are enhancing the air to air, the air to ground and the radar capabilities. Gripen C/D is the most capable fighter you can buy today," he says.
Thanks to the fast paced development in the field of defense technology, missiles are becoming increasingly smart. Today’s air forces therefore need a solution that equips them with the capability to counter the latest in missile technology.
Enhanced Survivability Technology (ESTL), whose maiden flight on Gripen was carried out in June this year, offers effective missile approach warning to counter RF and IR threats of the future.
ESTL provides covert sustainable pre-emptive dispensing, missile warning, forward firing of flares and cocktail dispensing. All these capabilities have been incorporated into the form-factor of a missile utilizing the well established AIM-9 Sidewinder and AIM-120 AMRAAM interfaces and characteristics for lean aircraft integration.
ESTL which can handle up to eight threats at a time, brings together several components from Saab's countermeasures portfolio, including BOL and BOP dispensers, integrated defensive aids system (IDAS) system as well as the defensive aids control unit.
“ESTL offers enhanced survivability in combat and conflict situations. Traditional Countermeasures may encounter difficulties with the latest generation of AAMs and SAMs, but the ESTL concept includes a module of forward firing flares. This, together with the missile approach warning sensors and an optional chaff capability, makes ESTL a powerful shield against the latest missile developments,” says Carl-Johan Bergholm, Head of Business Unit Electronic Warfare Systems at Saab.
Read more about ESTL here.
Gallium Nitride (GaN), probably the most important semiconductor material since silicon, will be used by Saab on the Gripen E aircraft, reports Defense News.
Gallium Nitride has long been seen as a powerful alternative to gallium arsenide which is currently popular for making modules for AESA radars.
The cost of Gallium Nitride has been a deterrent in its use in ground radars. However, with the demonstration of successful prototyping of Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) and Gallium Nitride (GaN) technologies by US firms like Raytheon, things are changing.
“The substance will be used in jammers and passive warning systems, boosting efficiency by 25 percent,” said Ulf Nilsson, the head of the Gripen program.
In addition to enabling future 360 sensor coverage, GaN technologies will also increase the defended area and decrease the time to detect, discriminate and engage threats.
According to Lennart Sindahl, Saab’s deputy CEO, Saab is now ahead of the curve on GaN.
“Our worst competitor said ‘you are now six years ahead of us,’” Sindahl said.
Read the full story: Gallium Nitride Gets Fighter Debut With Saab
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